woman sitting on cliff overlooking mountain

What’s On Your “Already There” List?

Getting your life in order can be a daunting challenge, but it might help to take a few minutes and think about the progress you’ve already made — and the advantages you’ve had from the beginning.

Today, I’m encouraging you to make an “already there” list. That’s a list of goals you’ve already completed or head starts you had over most of us from the beginning.

A simple, deliberate life includes less clutter and fewer distractions. Unhealthy eating habits must go, and tactics to improve your health, your emotional state and your life in general have to start.

But you’ve made some progress already, haven’t you? And you were a bit ahead of the game from the beginning, weren’t you?

Maybe my list of ways I’m already there will inspire you to make one of your own. Here are a few of the things with which others struggle that I think I’ve conquered:

1. I don’t drink soft drinks. I was addicted to these concoctions of chemical-laden high fructose corn syrup for years. I tried diet ones in college, but I didn’t see the point of having a bitter drink when I wanted a sweet one, so I returned to the ones with cups of sugar per two-liter bottle and drank more than a bottle a day. Several years ago — as a New Year’s resolution — I stopped drinking them in favor of unsweetened iced tea or water. I lost 40 pounds, then gained 10 pounds back. But I’m still 30 pounds better off than when I was allowing these nasty things to enter my body.

2. I’ve never paid for cable TV, satellite or streaming. For many families, pay TV costs more than $100 a month, but they’re home only a few hours a day and get no value for their money during all those hours the TV is off. When it’s on, they’re wasting away valuable time they could be using productively or for rest. Pay TV has no place in a simple, meaningful life. We pick up a couple dozen broadcast channels, have a DVD player hooked up to our one television and use USB sticks to play some classic TV programs we’ve legally downloaded for free. Along with all the media available on our phones and computers, that’s more than enough entertainment for two people.

3. We only have one car. Until a few years ago, we had two cars, but when the second one needed some major repairs (again), we sold it for a few hundred dollars and are managing fine with one. Neither of us has traditional jobs and we’re usually together anyway, so the second car was a waste of insurance and maintenance charges. Getting rid of our older car slashed household expenses, and it hasn’t had any negative impact on our lives.

4. We have a modest home. Our house is only 1,200 square feet. It is home to two people and previously home to four cats as well. It sits on an acre of land (too much) and there are some expenses related to it that aren’t minimal, but it’s not extravagant. We don’t have any nice furniture, antiques or knickknacks. It still contains too many items, but there’s nothing frivolous or grand in it, and we like it this way.

I could go on, but I don’t want to brag. Also, I haven’t thought of anything else yet.

So that’s my list, off the top of my head. What’s yours? Join me in taking a minute to celebrate the ways we’re already there.


  1. Great post! I think about my list a lot but hadn’t thought to write it down.

    -Sober 22 years

    -Great work that I love (social worker/therapist)

    -Going on 10 years with the love of my life

    -Fantastic spiritual community

    -Perfect 720 sq. ft. townhouse, interior walls painted in tropical blues and greens, garden out back.

    Dang! I am one fortunate girl!

    1. Thanks for posting your list, Jacki. You’re already there in lots of ways. I’m glad to see things are going so well for you…

      Now, who’s next?

  2. Hey good idea Gip. Sometimes, I put what I have already accomplished in the back mirror and don’t give enough credit to myself for how far I have come along.

    My list:
    -Sold, donated, trashed all items I had that weren’t adding any value to my life
    -Began writing about minimalism and simple living when I was initially afraid to do so
    -Did a TV Free Week and since have drastically cut down on TV except for basically sports and a few shows
    -Inspired some family members to ask their own selves if maybe they should simplify for more happiness.

    Whew! (Gives pat on back) haha. That feels to see the things I’m already there. Really cool exercises Gip! I think this might be something to do every now and again. If consistently going over our future goals is okay, so is celebrating the successful ones too – great idea.

    1. Thanks for participating, Reggie. If you feel inspired, put your list up on your blog — and don’t forget to tell everyone where the “already there” list idea came from. I’ll take the free publicity if I can get it!

      I’m glad to have you here.

  3. Wow! Writing a list really does make you stop and appreciate where you’re at right now. Here’s the short version of mine…

    – 30lbs lighter than I was 10 years ago.

    – Good eating habits — not much processed food or soda.

    – Although my work situation isn’t yet ideal, I work at home. (I used to commute an hour each way to sit in a tiny gray cubicle all day. Getting laid off from that job is one of the best things that ever happened to me.)

    – 15+ years married to my soul mate. 🙂

    Thanks for the post!

    1. Good to have to here, Amy.

      I’m looking forward to seeing some more lists. They’re reminding me of other ways in which I’m already there. Maybe I’ll have to update mine.


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